Covington track and field trio continues success at college level


Mike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington standout Rayna Horner, who won a state championship in the 1,600-meter relay, is coming off a MAC championship in the Distance Medley Relay for Toledo.

Mike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington standout Rayna Horner, who won a state championship in the 1,600-meter relay, is coming off a MAC championship in the Distance Medley Relay for Toledo.


Mike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington state champion Lauren Christian has already set a school record at Oakland University.


Mike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington state champion pole vaulter Jett Murphy was looking forward to the spring season at Youngstown State before the Corona Virus brought it to a halt.


By Rob Kiser

Miami Valley Today

Three former Covington state champions in track and field were looking forward to big spring seasons at the college level until the Corona Virus hit and the NCAA cancelled the spring season, giving all spring athletes a red-shirt year (an additional year of eligibility.

Lauren Christian

Christian, the daughter of Jennifer Christian, had a standout freshman season in indoors for Oakland University.

She set a school record of 44-1 1-2 inches in the shot put at the Jack Skoog Open and threw the weight throw 39-2 1-2 inches.

She finished third at the Horizon meet in the shot put, 42-8 3-4 and 12th in the weight throw.

“It (the college level) was more training around the year, but it wasn’t that big of an adjustment,” Christian said. “My winter season wasn’t what I was hoping for. But, I am just a freshman, so that was still pretty good.”

Missing out on the spring season was particularly tough for Christian.

“I have always liked the outdoor season more than the indoor season,” Christian said. “We had just started getting outside. We were all having fun and things were starting to click. Then, we get told out of nowhere, the season is cancelled. The season I like the best is the one the got cancelled.”

Christian is doing as much training as she can at home.

“The school sent us workouts to do,” she said. “Mainly, just body weight workouts. Hopefully, once this is over and gyms start opening up again, they will send us different workouts. If I get a red-shirt year, I will use it. I am just not sure where it will be because I am planning on going to grad school.”

Rayna Horner

Horner, the duaghter of Dave and Kami Horner, is a sophomore on the University of Toledo track and field team.

Horner said making the adjustment to the college level was a big one, after anchoring the 1,600-meter relay team to a state championship her senior year and finishing third in the 400.

“It is a huge difference,” Horner said. “Especially, the first year — when you are running against girls that are four years older than you are.”

Still, Horner was on the Distance Medley Relay that finished sixth in the MAC indoor meet and 4×400 team that finished sixth in the MAC outdoor meet.

She ran PRs of 12.63 in the 100, 29.27 in the 200, 57.76 in the 400, 65.29 in the 400 hurdles and 1:37.21 in the 600.

Horner recently capped her sophomore indoor season by teaming with Meltem Year, Semra Karasian and Petronela Simiuc to win the Distance Medley Relay in 11:38.11 to earn All-MAC honors.

Horner was also on the 4×400 relay team, helping Toledo to a sixth-place finish.

“We weren’t expecting to do that well, so we were happy with the indoor season,” Horner said. “We just kind of threw the relay teams together before the meet. We had a hunch we could win (the Distance Medley Relay).”

Horner was looking forward to the outdoor season.

“It was kind of a slap in the face the way it happened,” Horner said. “The way it just happened all of a sudden. I can’t even imagine what the seniors are going through. I feel bad for them. We are getting a redshirt year, so I am okay with that.”

Horner is doing the best she can to train.

“It is strange (to have a spring where she is not competing in track),” she said. “I am still training. Probably not as much as I normally would, but a couple days a week. Our next meet isn’t until January (the 2021 indoor season). That is a long time to go without a meet.”

Jett Murphy

Murphy, the son of Barry and LeAnne Murphy, was a state champion in the pole vault for Covington and is a sophomore at Youngstown State.

He said the adjustment to the college level wasn’t that difficult for him.

“It is year-around with training and everything, but they work around your class schedule,” Murphy said. “So, it wasn’t that difficult.”

As a freshman, Murphy finished second in the Horizon League Indoor Meet with a height of 4.65 meters and fourth in the outdoor meet, again going 4.65 meters.

He finished fourth in this year’s indoor meet, going 4.60 meters and tied his PR during the season, going 4.75 meters (15-7).

“During the preseason, I cleared more than that (15-7) in practice,” Murphy said. “So, I was expecting to have a really big indoor season. But, I did tie my PR and I am content with the way the indoor season went.”

Murphy admitted it was tough seeing the outdoor season cancelled.

“We had some big meets scheduled that I was really looking forward to,” he said. “But, there is nothing you can do about it.”

He is anxiously awaiting an opportunity to get back in action.

“All the training centers and places you can vault are closed down,” Murphy said. “I am doing what I can. I am so looking forward to getting back to vaulting. We have never been through anything like this before.”

But, the trio are doing their best to get through this spring — and be even better when competition resumes.

Contact Rob Kiser at rkiser@aimmediamidwest.com.

©2020 Miami Valley Today, all rights reserved.

Mike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington standout Rayna Horner, who won a state championship in the 1,600-meter relay, is coming off a MAC championship in the Distance Medley Relay for Toledo.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2020/03/web1_060118mju_track_cov_4x200.jpgMike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington standout Rayna Horner, who won a state championship in the 1,600-meter relay, is coming off a MAC championship in the Distance Medley Relay for Toledo.

Mike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington state champion Lauren Christian has already set a school record at Oakland University.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2020/03/web1_052318mju_track_cov_laurenchristian_ne201852319521480.jpgMike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington state champion Lauren Christian has already set a school record at Oakland University.

Mike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington state champion pole vaulter Jett Murphy was looking forward to the spring season at Youngstown State before the Corona Virus brought it to a halt.
https://www.dailycall.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2020/03/web1_052318mju_track_cov_jettmurphy2_ne2018523194931973.jpgMike Ullery|MVT File Photo Former Covington state champion pole vaulter Jett Murphy was looking forward to the spring season at Youngstown State before the Corona Virus brought it to a halt.